Emergency Services Training Campus

By Amelia Blades Steward

The Friends of the Easton Volunteer Fire Department (EVFD) are in the midst of an important Public Safety Capital Campaign for its Emergency Services Training Campus in Easton. Located at 9095 Mistletoe Drive, the state-of-the-art training campus will serve the town of Easton, fire departments, emergency service personnel, law enforcement, and paramedics in Talbot County for specialized education and certification. In December, the campaign is focusing on soliciting support from the business community.

An artist’s rendering of the new Emergency Services Training Campus in Easton.

According to Sonny Jones, Chief of Easton Volunteer Fire Department, Easton has an International Organization Standardization (ISO) classification of three, reflecting the fire department’s ability to provide fire protection to their insured customers in a specific municipality or geographical area. Insurance rates for businesses in Easton are based on a municipality classification. Only 21 fire companies in Maryland have achieved a Class Three or better.

Ed Forte (left) and Brett Whitehead are co-chairmen of the EVFD Public Safety Capital Campaign.

“When you get classified, they give you a very comprehensive written report that shows areas where you can improve. One of the areas that we can improve on is the training of our members. We hope to improve our classification with our new training campus, which will offer our members an increased frequency of training in a central location. Basically, the better we rate in this classification, the better the businesses do in their insurance rates. It offers the potential for lower rates as we improve,” Sonny adds.

“Because the Mid Shore fire companies are all volunteers, training is vital to our success. One public service that affects everyone whether it be residences or businesses is public safety. Improving fire, emergency medical services, and law enforcement training through this new training campus will benefit everyone who lives here.”

Currently, there is no dedicated training facility in Talbot County. To address this lack of training, Friends of Easton Volunteer Fire Department are creating a training campus that will include a 3,500-square-foot concrete public safety building for first responder training; a 3,600-square-foot classroom training and storage building; and a 1,500-square-foot concrete pad for car fire, extrication/stabilization, and traffic safety training. Training for fire departments will include firefighting skills, rescue, and motor-vehicle fire/extraction. Law enforcement training will include hostage rescue, physical training/testing, traffic training, Homeland Security, and K-9. Emergency Medical Services can use classroom facilities for their training.

The Town of Easton gifted the use of a 2.7-acre property on Mistletoe Drive to the Easton Volunteer Fire Department for a state-of-the-art training center. This facility will serve both the Town of Easton and the six local volunteer fire departments in Talbot County, as well as fire departments across the Mid Shore. Talbot County has 260 active firefighters who respond to thousands of calls. EVFD responded to 896 calls involving 10,000-man hours in 2022 and conducted 1,910 hours of training in 2022.

“It has never been more important than now to train our first responders and emergency personnel who serve Talbot County every day. We train together because we answer the call together. The demand for emergency services continues to grow in Talbot County and this training campus will help meet this critical need,” states Brett Whitehead, Co-Chairman of the campaign and President of the Friends of EVFD.

“The Friends of the EVFD and its volunteers accepted the challenge to raise $5 million for facility construction and operational expenses for the new campus. This campaign is essential toward ensuring cutting-edge training is available for all emergency services personnel.”

“We are very thankful for the dedication and selfless service of the men and women who volunteer to protect and serve our Town, and thankful that they go above and beyond to ensure our community’s safety,” states Megan JM Cook, Mayor, Town of Easton.

Several key donations have launched the campaign since it was announced this past summer. The A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation made the initial $1 million investment. Preston Automotive Group recently made a $300,000 gift to the campaign.

“This state-of-the-art training campus will not only support first responders for their training but will also help in recruiting and training as well. The training campus will also enable us to support our partners in law enforcement and emergency services in their training and recruitment needs and to better coordinate our roles in emergencies. We encourage the community to support our fundraising efforts to achieve our $5 million goal,” states Daryl Caldwell, Captain of EVFD.

For further information or to donate to the Friends of the EVFD Public Safety Capital Campaign for its Emergency Services Training Campus in Easton, contact Brett Whitehead at 302-236-6249 or whitenj20@gmail.com or visit www.foevfd.org.

Dave Wilson, Jr. (left) and Dave Wilson, Sr. recently gifted $300,000 on behalf of Preston Automotive Group to Friends of the EVFD, represented by Brett Whitehead, President of Friends of EVFD; Rick Stacy, President of EVFD; Ed Forte, Vice President of Friends of EVFD; Daryl Caldwell, Captain of EVFD; and Talbot County Sheriff Joe Gamble.
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